High Court has this week dismissed a case in which the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) sought an order to set aside the decision of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) not to accept their party nomination for Satellite Ward in the Francistown East Constituency. IEC had rejected the nomination for the UDC after two candidates, one after the other, appeared and presented themselves as the rightful party representatives during the recent parliamentarians and Council nominations.
The Returning Officer then made a determination not to accept any nomination from the duo simply because they presented the same letter purportedly to be from the party president Duma Boko. In the letter professed to have been from Boko, the pair indicated (each) that they have been nominated by the party to represent it for Council seat at next week’s hotly contested 2019 General Elections. It is understood that the IEC official turned down the duet on the basis that she could not make an objective assessment in terms of which letter, as represented to her – was fraudulent between the two and which was not.
When dismissing the urgent application on Friday (yesterday), Lobatse High Court Judge Justice Mercy Garekwe ordered: “urgent application dismissed with costs, in favour of the respondents (IEC) and against the applicants (UDC).” Garekwe further ruled that the reasons thereof will be delivered on Monday. UDC and Selugwe attorney Kago Mokotedi had argued that the matter is urgent. When the Judge inquired why the party sat on the issue for more than 15 days but pretend it is urgent, Mokotedi responded: “urgency is relative.” Mokotedi added that urgency does not necessarily mean that after knowing, he should have acted on the matter with a supersonic speed.
On their part, the IEC lawyers Moemedi Babitseng and Moagi Moloi contended that the matter should be dismissed as there is no urgency in it. “If the urgency is there, it is self-created,” they insisted. In the court case, UDC and Selugwe had, on urgent basis, instituted review legal proceedings against the Respondents (IEC) seeking the court to declare that the application is urgent and hereby dispensing with the forms and time limits relating to service and filing of documents provided in the Rules of the High Court and that this matter be dealt with and determined on urgency basis.
They also wanted the court to issue an order reviewing, correcting and setting aside the decision of the IEC (to reject their nomination) delivered on the 26th of September 2019 at Francistown on the basis that the decision was grossly unreasonable, irrational, unlawful and did not take into account relevant considerations and the evidence furnished to the Returning Officer. UDC also sought an order declaring that the 2nd Applicant (Selugwe) satisfies the requirements for being nominated as the local government candidate for Satellite Ward in the Francistown East Constituency and is hereby nominated as such representing the 1st Applicant (UDC).
In the matter, UDC is the first review applicant; Chakalisa Selugwe (who was said to be the rightful UDC candidate) the 2nd review applicant while on the other side Tshepo Sedimo (who is said to have forged Boko signature to force nomination to represent the UDC) is the first respondent. IEC Returning Officer in Francistown is the 2nd respondent with the 3rd being Keireng Zuze in her capacity as the Secretary of IEC and IEC cited as the 4th respondent. Kago Mokotedi represented UDC and Selugwe while Moemedi Babitseng and Moagi Moloi stood in for the IEC and Tshepo Sedimo. Mokotedi had threatened to undertake an election petition after the next week elections to challenge that the nomination process was based on fraudulent papers that made the UDC not to be able to nominate its candidate.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.